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Quick and Easy Beans and Greens

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Good and Good for You Beans and Greens on

Beans and Greens are the pinnacle of good and good for you eating. Every cuisine in the world has some form of this classic combination. This version is an Italian-Cajun-Appalachia mash-up. The best part is that canned beans make for easy preparation and clean-up.

Adding a cup of chopped collards and a handful of baby kale at the end of cooking is a great way to bump up the nutritional content. Try adding a handful to soups of all kinds or mashed or roasted sweet potatoes. (Remember, the good and good for you approach is about health GAIN not just weight loss!)

Beans and greens are good mood food and can greatly benefit your digestive system.  Read on for more about the role your gut plays in your mental health and well-being — plus how saying something as simple as “That color looks great on you” can make your day.

Good and Good for You Beans and Greens on

Best Life Living Tip

Sprinkle compliments throughout your day — it will give both you, the giver, and the recipient a boost of happy hormones. Check out this great piece to learn the differences between serotonin and dopamine — and did you know your body naturally produces oxytocin?

Compliments can build relationships, improve communication, motivate people, and boost one’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Giving and receiving compliments is a good mood move for better mental health.

Receiving compliments leads to activation in reward areas of the brain — just like a gift or monetary reward. And, according to Psychology Today, “People who received the compliments felt happier, more pleased and flattered than the compliment-giver predicted.”

Self Care Technique

Take care of your gut. It’s not just about keeping things moving — the health of your gut can affect your mood and mental health. It’s called the gut-brain axis and your brain and gut are intimately linked. It’s all about good in means good out — and in this case, it’s quite literally what I mean!

Beans and greens are good mood food and beneficial for your gut health for several reasons. UMass Medical School says, “The soluble fiber in beans can help to lower the harmful LDL-cholesterol and help to regulate blood sugar levels.  It can also help us to feel satisfied after we eat, and therefore help with weight control.”This hearty, healthy dish will fill you up!

Beans and greens are high in dietary fiber. Fiber serves as food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut, promoting their growth and proliferation. This helps maintain a healthy balance of gut microbiota, which is essential for proper digestion and overall well-being. And, yes, part of having a healthy gut involves producing gas. Check out my post on why beans make you go rooty-toot-toot!

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Ideas and Inspiration

The King of Beans is undoubtedly Steve Sando, founder and CEO of Rancho Gordo. His beans are amazing — they are night and day from grocery store beans. Steve’s passion for beans is truly inspiring and we’re lucky folks that he does what he does. His book, Heirloom Beans is a must-have in your kitchen and on your shelf. The beans are available online and here’s a link to the store locator.  His beans would be incredible for this Beans and Greens recipe. Beans are good mood food. Check it out!

Lighten Up, Y’all Giveaway

WOW! What a great response to Good and Good for You in the AJC. This week’s recipe is for a Blended Burger Sloppy Joe. It’s amazing and delicious. Sometimes there is a paywall for content, but when I posted this video there was not — so eat ’em up!

Last week a reader asked me to include the WW points as I sporadically did a few years ago. (I’m still a member; you can JOIN HERE and we’ll both get a free month.) A lot of folks found me including the WW points off-putting and let me know…. I’ve started including nutritional analysis as there are so many different weight management tools to let readers calculate on their own.

I’m curious what you want. Do you want me to include smart points? Please leave a comment and let me know.

I hope you enjoy my Quick and Easy Beans and Greens. Let me know what you think! Lastly, there’s a FREE cookbook giveaway on my Instagram feed — enter to win a copy of Lighten Up, Y’all.  Thanks so much for reading.

Bon Appétit Y’all!

Virginia Willis

Good and Good for You Beans and Greens on

Good and Good for You Beans and Greens on
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Beans and Greens

Servings: 8
Calories: 139kcal


  • 1 tablespoon pure olive oil
  • 12 ounces chicken or turkey andouille sausage sliced
  • 2 sweet onions chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 poblano or green bell peppers cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic very finely chopped
  • 2 16 ounce cans white beans
  • 2 cups water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3 bay leaves preferably fresh
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped collard greens finely chopped (about 4 ounces)
  • 3 green onions trimmed and chopped
  • Hot sauce for serving
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and chiles. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are soft and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 45 to 60 seconds.
  • Drain the beans and add the beans to the pot. Add the cayenne, white pepper, smoked paprika, and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then decrease the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are heated through and the flavors have married, about 15 minutes.
  • Using a potato masher, smash in the pot to break up some of the beans. Stir in the collard greens and stir to combine. Cook until wilted and heated though, about 5 minutes. Add chopped green onions and season well with hot sauce to taste. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper.


Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 552mg | Potassium: 357mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 545IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 5mg

Food styling Lori Horne

Let’s cook something up! If you are interested in hosting me for a speaking engagement, event, cooking class, or a book signing, let me know! Send an email to and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible.

I am not a doctor, RD, or health professional. I am simply sharing what works for me. My blog is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals.

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Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained chef Virginia Willis has foraged for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and executed the food styling for a Super Bowl commercial seen by over 160 million people. She is a James Beard award-winning cookbook author and chef for Food Network Kitchen. Virginia lost 65 pounds and has kept if off for over 3 years. Her health journey has been documented in Eating Well, as a cover story for Woman’s World, Allrecipes, and AARP. Virginia has embraced her new outlook on life and has become a cheerleader for those wanting to make their own life changes, “If a French-trained Southern chef can do it, you can, too!” Her cookbooks include Fresh Start: Cooking with Virginia My Real Life Daily Guide to Healthy Eating and Weight Loss; Secrets of the Southern Table, Lighten Up, Y’all, Bon Appétit, Y’all, Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, Okra, and Grits. She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Alex vs America, The Rachel Ray Show, Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Virginia has also been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52. She has contributed to Eating Well, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. Fans love her down-to-earth attitude and approachable spirit. Learn more about Virginia and Good and Good for You Living, a real life health and wellness approach for mind, body, and spirit that includes food, fun, and fitness at

This Post Has One Comment

  1. This looks great as does the umami bomb mushrooms soup I was looking at when I noticed this and came to check it out and now I am printing out BOTH of these. I for one would love to have WW points included.

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